External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has capped a day of intense diplomacy with a meeting with General Assembly President Csaba Korosi discussing global development and the UN’s role while assuring him of India’s support.
On Monday, the eve of the high-level Assembly meeting, he held bilateral meetings also with eight foreign ministers and attended two multilateral sessions covering a geography from Indonesia to Trinidad and topics ranging from security, food and agriculture to economy and development.
Jaishankar tried to bring focus in his meeting with Korosi and others to matters of vital importance to the developing nations like energy and food security, fertiliser availability, health issues, global debt concerns and trade disruption problems, according to an official source.
After his meeting with Korosi, Jaishankar tweeted: “Assured him of India’s fullest support. Discussed the criticality of SDG agenda for global progress. Shared Indian experiences in that regard.”
SDGs are the 17 sustainable development goals set by the UN to be achieved by 2030 and cover topics ranging from environment to education, and from poverty to peace but which are now facing a setback from the Covid pandemic and the fallout of the Ukraine war.
Jaishankar’s first meeting of the day was with Argentina’s Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero, who is the President pro tempore of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), along with Foreign Ministers Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores of Guatemala and Amery Browne of Trinidad and Tobago.
The meeting aimed at highlighting the growing relations between India and the CELAC countries in areas ranging from health and science to trade and energy and to develop them further, the source said, pointing out that India, for example, ranks among the top five trade partners of Brazil and Argentina.
Cafiero tweeted, that CELAC “reactivated after 5 years the region’s link with India”.
“The unity of the countries of the global south will make it possible to strengthen the energy and food security agenda, which is key to the development of our peoples,” he added in the Spanish language tweet.
The source said that Jaishankar’s trilateral meeting with Foreign Ministers Catherine Colonna of France and Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates follows the contemporary development in diplomacy, moving beyond bilateral and regional relations to interest-based groupings spanning geographic areas.
Cooperation in the areas of food, energy and security were among the topics discussed, the source said.
Colonna tweeted in French that it was the “launch of a new trilateral format in the Indo-Pacific zone with India and the Emirates” with “a common ambition to move forward in 4 areas: security and defence, Climate, Technologies and people(-to-people) exchanges”.
Jaishankar also met one-on-one with Al Nahyan, with whose country India has close multilateral ties.
He tweeted after their meeting: “Appreciated his assessments and insights on the global situation.”
At their meeting, Jaishankar and Browne reviewed the ties between Trinidad, whose population of Indian descent is about 40 per cent, and India and discussed strengthening it, according to a source.
Indonesia is the president of the G20, the group of developed and emerging nations, and is scheduled to hand over the baton to India in December.
Jaishankar’s meeting with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi centered on the work of the G20 and the transfer of the presidency, the source said.
“We spoke on G20 cooperation, including ensuring concrete deliverables for G20 2022,” Marsudi tweeted.
The source said that during the meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry of Egypt they noted the closely shared outlook on many issues, especially in development, and spoke about cooperation in the nonaligned movement and at the UN, the source said.
Jaishankar tweeted that they “discussed our close cooperation at the UN and NAM (Nonaligned Movement). Recognized the value Egypt’s participation in G20 will bring next year.
Of importance to India is that Egypt is hosting in November the next UN climate change meeting which is formally known as COP27 for the 27th edition of the Conference of Parties to one of the international agreements on climate.
Regarding the meeting with Albania’s Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka, the source said that both countries that are currently on the Security Council have worked together, and New Delhi wants to build on that in other spheres.
Echoing the sentiments, Xhacka tweeted: “Albania and India work together as non-permanent members to the #UNSC. Time to strengthen cooperation and relations in many areas of interest.”
Jaishankar said in a tweet that he “exchanged views on Ukraine and energy security” with the Minister whose country is in the vicinity of the embattled nation.
Jaishankar also met Foreign Minister Ian Borg of Malta with which India shares commonwealth ties.
India has business interests there and sees Malta as a gateway to the European Union now that Britain is out of it, the source said.
Malta will be joining the Security Council next year as India leaves it ending its two-year term.
Borg tweeted: “We spoke about UNSC developments and our priorities on the Council as from Jan2023.”
Development was the main theme of Jaishankar’s meeting with Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, according to the source.
India, which has had a long relationship with Cuba in diplomatic, developmental and economic spheres, is now helping the country in economic straits with a 100 million euro line of credit that was extended in July primarily to buy rice.
Cuba is expected to take over the leadership of the G77, the 137-member group of developing countries, from Pakistan.
Parilla tweeted in Spanish: “We highlight the historical ties of friendship between both countries, India, Cuba. We express our willingness to continue strengthening bilateral cooperation and developing economic, trade and investment ties.”
Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, who also holds the foreign ministry portfolio, briefed Jaishankar on the conflict involving the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which has flared up again, according to the source.
They discussed cooperation including in education, noting that Indian teachers have been the mainstay of that country’s education system for decades, the source said.
Ethiopia’s Education Minister Berhanu Nega was also at the meeting.
The Assembly’s high-level week brings leaders from around the world to the UN and Jaishankar noted in a tweet that it “is full of friends” after he casually ran into Serbia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic.
Jaishankar is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with two presidents from Africa, Nana Akufo-Addo, of Ghana and Azali Assoumani of the Comoros.
He has scheduled bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey, Denis Moncada Colindres of Nicaragua, Alexander Schallenberg of Austria, and Najla M. El Mangoush of Libya.
Jaishankar will also be a guest at a dinner hosted by French President Emmanuel Macros.